TRENTON, N.J. (CBSNewYork/AP) — New Jersey lawmakers will vote Friday on a plan to raise the state’s gas tax by 23 cents a gallon.

The vote was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but Senate President Steve Sweeney said lawmakers will revisit the vote Friday.

“I’m not worried about what’s going on right now. We have a critical need to fund our transportation trust fund,” Sweeney said. “It’s been underfunded for quite some time.”

A spokesman for Assembly Speaker Vincent Prieto confirmed the Assembly will also consider the agreement reached between leaders and Republican Gov. Chris Christie on Friday as well.

If passed, the agreement would raise New Jersey’s gas tax — the second-lowest in the nation — from 14.5 cents to 37.5 cents a gallon.

The proposal is expected to pass, but many New Jersey drivers aren’t happy about having to pay more at the pump.

It is the first gas tax increase for the state in 28 years, CBS2’s Janelle Burrell reported.

Lawmakers hastily reached an agreement with Governor Chris Christie last Friday, a day after the deadly train crash in Hoboken.

The money from the tax is to be used to help refill the Garden State’s depleted transportation fund.

“I’m happy to be a governor now who is going to be able to say that we have responsibly financed for a long period of time, the longest period the state will ever see,” Christie said.  

Over the summer, Christie ordered a shut down of the state’s non-essential transportation projects after failing to reach a deal with the Democrats.

In exchange for the hike, New Jersey’s sales tax will be cut by three-eights of a percent. There will also be a phase-out of the estate tax and tax credits for the working poor and veterans. The deal would eventually remove $1.4 billion from New Jersey’s annual revenue base, WBCS 880’s Marla Diamond reported.

“We are going to have no income tax whatsoever on senior citizen income — retirement accounts, Keoughs, IRAs, pensions. We got that in the bill. That’s a big deal,” Assemblyman Jon Bramnick said.

The bill was posted as an emergency vote, so no public hearings were held on the matter, CBS2’s Christine Sloan reported.

“They are trying to rush it through without a public hearing or transparency because they don’t want the pubic to find out how bad a deal this really is,” Jeff Tittel with the Sierra Club told Sloan.

Some drivers say the impact will take a toll on their wallets.

“We moved to Jersey for the cheap gas,” resident Twan Johnson said.

“They know Jersey is the cheapest place to get gas, so why would it go up?” Tara Barnes, of East Orange said.

“The way jobs are going and everything, people are going to start struggling to pay the gas,” Edwin Duran, of Trenton said.

It’s not only the people behind the wheel who will feel the effects. If less people fill up in New Jersey, that means less sales at gas stations.

“We depend on tips,” Syed Ali, a gas station attendant and father of two, said. So if we don’t make tips, it’s nothing here.”

But some in the construction industry say they see the gas tax as a good thing.

“I was working and got laid off because the projects shut down,” Kelly Ruggieri said.

Sal Risalvato, head of the New Jersey Gasoline Association, said there’s no question the state’s transportation infrastructure needs major work, but consumers will see a clear ripple effect because of the gas tax hike. 

“It is inevitable for the price of groceries and all consumer goods to rise because of this gas tax increase,” Risalvato said.

AAA analysts say the gas tax will cost an additional $170 a year for New Jersey drivers.

(TM and © Copyright 2016 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2016 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

Comments (12)
  1. Good grief ! what else will they do to the struggling working class folks in NJ to force us to leave this tax laden state. Sneaky back room (emergency) deals that will feed the hungry politicans and take how many more millions of our hard earned cash. They squander our tax dollars give themselves raises and pat themselves on the back for killing our economy. Vote them out !!!

  2. Gerald Metz says:

    This bill has several positive things in it: 1) tax exemptions for pensions & other retirement income; 2) sales tax reduction; 3) new NJ Earned Income Tax Credit, like the federal one; 4) make charitable donations deductible in NJ too; and as mentioned above, phase out the NJ Estate Tax. On balance, more good stuff than bad.

    1. You’re obviously not interested in the thousands of struggling working class people who will be hit hardest by this money grab ! Morons like you think money grows on trees !

  3. jcer says:

    Killing the estate tax make sense, we lose retirees to FL and other states over it, we will see a small income tax revenue increase as a result. For the average wealthy NJ retiree, they will save thousands in state income tax, but that usually isn’t the motivator it is the death tax. How many FL license plates do you see driving around NJ, we need to be more competitive with surrounding states it’s the only way to keep productive citizens who can pay ridiculous taxes.

  4. obotmama says:

    after refusing to sign the 23 cent a gallon gas tax bill all of a sudden after he was accused by numerous officals who testified UNDER OATH that indeed he was behind BRIDGEGATE christe not only agreed but did not even attempt to lower it and then tried to sneak it past taxpayers by making the announcement late on a fridayTHIS IS CLEARLY A DEAL WITH THE DEMOCATS TO KEEP HIMSELF OUT OF JAIL AT THE HUGE EXPENSE OF NEW JERSEY DRIVERS!

  5. horshack says:

    The NJ Estate tax doesn’t affect just the rich. Currently some 10% of all estates get wacked. Since the tax isn’t indexed with inflation anyone with a decent house would likely get hit by it within 20 years.

    What should happen is NJ should link it the the Federal Estate tax. That has a higher limit plus it’s inflation linked. That would keep the exemption high enough to keep the middle class out of it.

  6. testy11 says:

    NY, CT & MA residents are taking notice. If Estate tax is really repealed in NJ, many upper middle class and rich people will buy a property in NJ to make it their official residence. State taxes are lower than NY, CT & MA anyway. It’s a no brainer to move your residency to NJ.

    1. the only no brainer is YOU ! No Brain !!

  7. Eliminating the estate tax on the wealthy and imposing a gas tax on the middle class makes this more equitable? You’ve got to be kidding. I didn’t get that 30Mil tax Break that Christie gave Trump..did you? . Use your vote! Next election – remember who voted for this raping and pillaging of the middle class! Demand impeachment of Christie and his Government cronies forcing this on the backs of hard working NJ people! Put these people out of office and please put some of them in Jail for their BLATENT abuses.

    1. midi-man says:

      Yes and the veterans also. I guess he wants another bridge gate scandal so he can drive up the revenue with the new gas tax.

      This is what we are in store for if Trump gets in, he also will pass the burden to me middle class and working poor.

  8. Terry Mi says:

    Question, who should pay for the roads, those who use them or everyone?

    BTW, NJ ranks near the bottom in gas tax.

    1. BTW you’re an idiot ! We pay the highest property taxes , car insurance and everything else. Stop thinking like an elitest !

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